this is all just theory
July 17, 2014 11:22 AM   Subscribe


I'm sort of surprised that nobody but this group goes diving to observe behaviors. I guess you have to be a little crazy.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:42 PM on July 17

I'm envious of sperm whales' brains and their incredible physical abilities, including supercharged biosonar. They probably have complex emotions that make us look like wanking howler monkeys next to them.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 12:59 PM on July 17

"Not getting crushed, drowned, or eaten by sperm whales is only one of the challenges of studying them."

Yeah. Wow.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:01 PM on July 17

The bull turned and shot the freediver with clicks that left the man with hours of debilitating pain in his stomach and chest.
Schnöller held out his hand to push the calf back and felt a sudden shock of heat rush up his arm. The energy from the clicks coming out of the calf’s nose was strong enough to paralyze Schnöller’s hand for the next few hours.

Holy crap.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:03 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]

I'm curious what the "big" thing was mentioned at the end. Does this continue somewhere?
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 1:23 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]

The y-axis on that "zones of the ocean" chart is so completely fucked up.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:58 PM on July 17

Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton:

At the end, it says Excerpted from James Nestor's DEEP: Freediving Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves (An Eamon Dolan Book/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Available Tuesday, June 24, 2014.

So we won't find out what the big thing is until we read the book.

I do wish the article (1) had been better edited: there were a bunch of typos; and (2) gave more information about the natural history of sperm whales, like what do they eat?

But yeah, that was awesome and terrifying and inspiring.
posted by suelac at 2:09 PM on July 17

...just returned from a trip in Botswana to swim with crocodiles. The trip ended after the first day when a team member had his arm eaten off.

Yeah, not a crowd all that worried about your basic OSHA safety slip and fall issues.

“You need to set the right intention now. They can sense your intent.” I know how dangerous human-whale interactions can be, but I strive to set my fear aside, calm myself, and think good thoughts.

Sorry, I call overwrought feelgood anthropomorphism. Explain to me how if they communicate and can make sounds that carry for hundreds of miles how they were not vastly more difficult to capture?

The Japanese want to start eating them again. Pollution might be wiping out the poor gigantic dudes. The ocean ecosystem seems to be seriously at risk and whales are an integral part of that world. Someone should be bombing a certain countries fishing vessels. All fishing probably needs better controls.

But, divers and swimmers get away with being in the water because we just are not fish food. Animals eat what they eat from whats become their diet over a natural selection time period, not the few dozens of years that technology has allowed people to get in the water. If swimming with whales becomes popular, accidents will increase.
posted by sammyo at 2:21 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: wanking howler monkeys
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:43 PM on July 17

Sorry, I call overwrought feelgood anthropomorphism. Explain to me how if they communicate and can make sounds that carry for hundreds of miles how they were not vastly more difficult to capture?

Are you implying that it must follow that they don't communicate or make sounds that carry for hundreds of miles?
posted by polecat at 4:55 PM on July 17

Ah, no, I was implying that it's unlikely there is a vast underwater civilization of aquatic wise cetaceans that discuss the merits of contacting those monkey like beings that recently have begun to encroach on the watery paradise.
posted by sammyo at 7:40 AM on July 18

War of the Whales: The Epic Fight To Protect Whales From The U.S.Navy
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:04 AM on July 24

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